So so very brave (countdown check in)

So so very much is up for my family this week, this month.

Because he is my son, and I really want and need to protect him,  I am only going to share that this is much harder than I expected. But what the hell did I expect?

Adoptive+parenting ain’t for sissies.

Suffice it to say that it is hard.

Suffice it to say that when research says that an infant’s emotional life is far richer and deeper than we previously understood, I believe them.

Because this six year old is full of big feelings, and those feelings began over six years ago in a hospital room. Over six years ago when her Mama love, her laugh, her smell, and her beautiful singing voice were all that he knew.

Then thirty-six hours later–and all that was her was gone.

Replaced by my new mama awkward and is-this-the-way-a-baby-works-loving. By my unknown smell, then timid laugh, and wildly out of tune sing song voice singing none of the songs he’d been hearing for the last however many months since those precious ears were hearing her. And with each hour he missed her more, as I became more and more the Mama me–but was still, of course–me.

And he cried a lot when he realized he wasn’t getting the first Mama back.

And now I’m asking him to go back to that moment in time, but this time with open arms, a smile on his face,  a good looking line up, and a button down shirt?

I’m asking him to manage all of that wordless grief, and turn it in to anticipation and ease and excitement?

Last night he let me know, in other wordless ways that that was not what he had in mind. It ended with a lot of hugs, and sobbing and shaking. The twenty minutes in between are for only the three of us to talk about.

And the counselor we’re breaking in tomorrow.

I reached out for help last night, after I got him and Marcel to sleep in my arms.

That help came in many forms.

When my adult, transracial, adopted male friend who has lived an open adoption all his life-asked if I felt like I could ask the birth mother to send some reassurance in some form that she was looking forward to seeing him too--I felt the waves parting in my heart.

I asked seconds later  in a text if she could leave him such a message–because all my reassurances that she was excited too-weren’t cutting it. She wrote right back:

“I’ll send him a video message to your email after work tonight.”

I thanked her, and then asked if she would please include how much she was looking forward to meeting Marcel too…

Of course.

When I think of him being tossed upside down  and back and forth-on the roller coaster upside down thing over and over again this afternoon, with a huge smile on his face–it suddenly all makes sense. For an instant the outside world, was even more out of whack than the inside one.

Man my kid is brave. And I don’t even know the half of it.


  1. This sure ain’t for sissies! You’re right about that. I cried when I read that and with tears still streaming down my face and my own beautiful brown baby fast asleep in my arms, I feel ya.
    You’re doing a wonderful job and it’s hard but it’s right. :0) hang in there beautiful family.

  2. Oh wow, I had to take a deep, cleansing breath after reading this. I have written similar posts about the realities of my son’s loss. Because I am an infant mental health specialist, I feel deeply that infants have an amazing and beautiful emotional life, and I VERY much believe my son carries the loss of his first mom with him. I don’t know if you read about it on my blog, but we just visited her with him a couple of weeks ago and he hadn’t seen her since December. Before leaving, he clung to her. He laid his head on her shoulder and snuggled. He even kissed her. And I was so happy for them to be together…and then I was sad. Because he lost her. And I can’t ever change that. I cry as I write this. Of course you are all dealing with big feelings. Sam is lucky to have you – you are able to recognize, label and help him process all those big feelings. Believe me, not every parent can do that. You all will get through this, together.

  3. My heart felt this. My thoughts echo the words that have been expressed by the mamas who know exactly what you are going through. Your family is so special, and I know that this new phase in your journey will reward you all with what you need. ((Hugs))

  4. Thank you all for these tremendous reactions to this piece to wake to. I needed to hear from peeps around this one today. We are on the right path. The video didn’t make it here last night, but I trust that she had some technological difficulties or it would have. I’ll tell him today that she is working on a message for him and Marcel to let them know how much she is looking forward to this visit too…

  5. You’re a wonderful Mama; for making it safe for your sons to display huge emotions in the way they need too; and for keeping everyone safe during displays of big emotions. Which I know can be very difficult; having been through emotional explosions in our own family with my daughter. It’s strange; how sometimes I know exactly what triggered the huge feelings; and other times they seem to come from out in left field and I never seem to get to the bottom of what caused the explosion. But sometimes it seems to be a necessary part of the process.

  6. Adoption is a HUGELY emotional. There’s just no way to understand / be a part of it without taking a big emotional hit. It’s so deep. I feel in our adoption, the adults have had the hardest time emotionally (for now) but that’s only because my son has yet to speak and express himself. I’m hoping we are all as big and brave as you are (as adults) when he realizes what’s gone down. That’s the only way we’ll be able to support him as he grows up.

  7. Whoa. You said that right–the HUGELY emotional part. I am not feeling brave as much as I feel like a train breaking through mountains because no one mentioned there wasn’t a track there yet. Yes–the emotional life of the kids doesn’t get to surface verbally until now–but I feel it is always there–in retrospect to a very large degree. Maybe that is just my lens today?

    And Yes Wendy–the unknown triggers and the known ones all blend together into this rich experience eh?

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